Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Internet Radio Silence Day and Web Video Summit - A Tale of Two Types of Webcasters

This week two contrasting events both of significant meaning to the webcasting industry happened.

On one hand, today thousands of other U.S. webcasters, turned off their music streams and go silent for 24 hours June 26th to demonstrate the "silence" that Internet radio may be reduced to permanently after July 15th, the day on which 17 months' (Jan 1, 2006) worth of retroactive royalty payments set by the Copyright Royalty Board are due. If these new royalties are implemented, it threatens the survival of US Internet radio industry. The new fee structure would change the basis of the payments to a flat fee for each song streamed on a per-user basis. Thus, in 2007, every song sent to every listener would net SoundExchange, a royalty collection organization with ties to the RIAA, $0.0011, regardless of whether the broadcaster made any money by doing so. The fees are scheduled to more than double over the next five years. The Internet Radio Equality Act has recently been introduced in both the House and Senate to save the Internet radio industry.

On the other hand, Jupiter Media, The media research consulting company, will hold its web video summit June 27-28 in San Jose, California to showcase the bright prospect of creating and distributing web video with topics such as video search engines, mobile videos, etc. Interestingly, the copyright issue is not touched in the conference sessions.

While it's not unusual to see the battle between established media and new media, the new rule of the game is copyright and how government's attitudes and media suppliers toward copyright will affect the content available on the Web. There is also the difference bewteen video and radio webcasters, the latter are usually smaller and not backed up by deep pockets. The Webcasting Worldwide book has discussed the implication of copyright on the future industry and researchers and practitioners alike must create a paradigm of the real meaning of copyright and how it should be pursued in the digital age.

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